Judson hung up the receiver, reset the wire switch to leave it as he had found it, climbed out through the open window and replaced the sash; all this methodically, as one who sets the death chamber in order after the sheet has been drawn over the face of the corpse. Then he stumbled down the hill to the gulch bottom and started out to walk along the new spur toward Little Butte station, limping painfully and feeling mechanically in his pocket for his pipe, which had apparently been lost in some one of the many swift and strenuous scene-shiftings.
AT SILVER SWITCH
Like that of other railroad officials, whose duties constrain them to spend much time in transit, Lidgerwood’s desk-work went with him up and down and around and about on the two divisions, and before leaving his office in the Crow’s Nest to go down to the waiting special, he had thrust a bunch of letters and papers into his pocket to be ground through the business-mill on the run to Little Butte.
It was his surreptitious transference of the rubber-banded bunch of letters to the oblivion of the closed service-car desk, observed by Miss Brewster, that gave the president’s daughter an opportunity to make partial amends for having turned his business trip into a car-party. Before the special was well out of the Angels yard she was commanding silence, and laying down the law for the others, particularizing Carolyn Doty, though only by way of a transfixing eye.
“Listen a moment, all of you,” she called. “We mustn’t forget that this isn’t a planned excursion for us; it’s a business trip for Mr. Lidgerwood, and we are here by our own invitation. We must make ourselves small, accordingly, and not bother him. Savez vous?”
Van Lew laughed, spread his long arms, and swept them all out toward the rear platform. But Miss Eleanor escaped at the door and went back to Lidgerwood.
“There, now!” she whispered, “don’t ever say that I can’t do the really handsome thing when I try. Can you manage to work at all, with these chatterers on the car?”
She was steadying herself against the swing of the car, with one shapely hand on the edge of the desk, and he covered it with one of his own.
“Yes, I can work,” he asserted. “The one thing impossible is not to love you, Eleanor. It’s hard enough when you are unkind; you mustn’t make it harder by being what you used always to be to me.”
“What a lover you are when you forget to be self-conscious!” she said softly; none the less she freed the imprisoned hand with a hasty little jerk. Then she went on with playful austerity: “Now you are to do exactly what you were meaning to do when you didn’t know we were coming with you. I’ll make them all stay away from you just as long as I can.”